Author: Aaron Czechowski, Senior Program Manager
This post applies to customers using System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager, or customers using System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 that have installed the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 8.1 on a standalone system in order to acquire the Windows PE 5.0 boot image or the USMT 6.3 package. (Do not install the Windows ADK for Windows 8.1 on System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 site servers.). If you are also using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) see this post .
We recommend all customers of System Center 2012 Configuration Manager upgrade to the latest ADK, but this upgrade is not required . You can continue to use an existing version of the Windows 8.1 ADK or the Windows 8.1 Update revision to service and deploy all Windows 8.1 (including Windows 8.1 Update), Windows 8, and Windows 7 images. If you do upgrade, you don’t have to uninstall the previous version first; running the ADK setup will update the existing components of the ADK installation.
After upgrading the ADK to the latest version, here are a few general items of note for Configuration Manager:
The Windows ADK for Windows 8.1 Update still includes Windows PE 5.0 (including the Windows PE 5.0 optional components and language packs), the same as the previous versions of the Windows ADK for Windows 8.1. The Windows PE documentation references Windows PE 5.1 for supporting WimBoot deployments. (Remember, Configuration Manager does not yet support WimBoot.) Windows PE version 5.1 is not needed for Configuration Manager and can actually be problematic if you try to use it. Windows PE 5.0 can continue to be used to deploy Windows 8.1 Update. There is a documented process to upgrade Windows PE to version 5.1, but this should be considered incompatible with Configuration Manager at this time. Keep reading if you want more details about this, otherwise skip to the next section.
Why can’t Configuration Manager use Windows PE 5.1? The process to create Windows PE 5.1 requires injecting the Windows 8.1 Update package into the Windows PE image, and if it also includes optional components or language packs these must be done in a specific order. The process then requires using the DISM /Cleanup-Image option with the /ResetBase parameter to cleanup and optimize the image before unmounting the image and committing the changes. Configuration Manager doesn’t currently support this sort of process during boot image servicing.
OK, but we now support importing alternate versions of Windows PE, right? Yes, but the OS version of Windows PE 5.1 is still 6.3 (specifically 6.3.9600.17031 or similar version, compared to 6.3.9600.16384 for the Windows 8.1 General Availability version), which is the extent of our determination for in-console servicing. So, if you manually create a Windows PE 5.1 boot image and import it into Configuration Manager, you can still perform servicing operations on that boot image, including adding optional components. By servicing the boot image, or even just updating the boot image for any other reason, you introduce the need to rebuild the image from source files. Configuration Manager will inject the four Optional Components that it requires along with any additional modifications that you have requested. As mentioned above, because we have no ability to inject the Windows 8.1 Update package and cleanup the boot image, it will either be completely reverted back to Windows PE 5.0 or will be a Windows PE 5.1 boot image with older Windows PE 5.0 optional components, which is obviously problematic.
As stated above, we recommend using the latest Windows 8.1 Update full media. If you need to service an existing Windows 8.1 image here are some tips:
If your images and deployments include language packs, be sure to consider the following:
We’ve been working closely with Windows engineering on streamlining this process as much as possible. I’m always interested in your feedback, or feel free to post your questions below, especially if there are Configuration Manager deployment scenarios not covered here.
-- Aaron Czechowski, Sr. Program Manager
Configuration Manager Resources
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties and confers no rights.
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